Should I Submit to BAC Testing during a DUI Stop?

December 16, 2015

A Denver & Boulder DUI lawyer explains the impacts of submitting to versus refusing BAC testing.

A Denver & Boulder DUI lawyer explains the impacts of submitting to versus refusing BAC testing.

The Colorado express consent law requires drivers to submit to chemical – or blood alcohol content (BAC) – testing any time an officer has probable cause to suspect alcohol and/or drug impairment.

Drivers can, however, refuse this testing during a DUI stop. And these refusals can have various impacts, the most significant of which we will discuss below to help you understand when it is better to submit to versus refuse BAC testing in a traffic stop.

The Impacts of BAC Test Refusals: What Drivers Need to Know

When motorists refuse to submit to breath or blood tests during a DUI stop:

  • There will be automatic penalties – This is because refusals constitute a violation of the law (i.e., the express consent law). For a first time refusal, motorists will receive an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension even before the criminal case is resolved AND regardless of whether the criminal charges are dropped later (or the person is acquitted of them).
  • A history of BAC test refusals can result in harsher penalties – When drivers have prior DUIs and BAC test refusals on their records, the penalties for a subsequent refusal will be harsher, jumping up to a 2-year driver’s license suspension for a second refusal and a 3-year suspension for a third refusal.
  • The refusal can be used as evidence of impairment – And this is something that many motorists are not aware of, as the motivation to refuse BAC testing typically arises as part of an effort to avoid giving authorities more possible evidence of impairment. However, in DUI cases, a refusal to submit to BAC testing can be used to try to argue that drivers were attempting to hide evidence of impairment.
  • Higher BAC results may go undetected – And this may be the one possible advantage to refusing BAC testing in some situations, as not taking a breath or blood test can prevent authorities from having definitive evidence of higher BACs (like those exceeding 0.15). Because higher BACs can trigger harsher DUI penalties, in these situations, it may be beneficial to not have BAC test results on hand, as it could prevent the harsher penalties from coming into play.

Submitting to BAC Tests

While there can be advantages and disadvantages to refusing BAC testing, for those who submit to this testing, it is important to also understand that:

  • Switching tests during a DUI stop can be taken as a refusal – So, if you agreed to a breath test and then decide you want a blood test instead, the law states that this change can constitute a refusal.

  • BAC test results are not always accurate – And this is critical to remember because, if you take a BAC test and the results seem incriminating, there can be various ways to challenge or undermine these results later, especially if you retain an experienced defense attorney.

Contact a Denver & Boulder DUI Lawyer at the Griffin Law Firm

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense? If so, you can turn to the Denver and Boulder Metro Area criminal defense lawyer at Griffin Law Firm for experienced help and the best possible defense.

To receive a complete evaluation of your case, along with professional advice regarding your best options, contact us by calling (303) 280-1070 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

Categories: DUI, DUI Defense, DUI Penalties